CDN$ 14.43
  • List Price: CDN$ 19.99
  • You Save: CDN$ 5.56 (28%)
FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
Add to Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Words And Rules: The Ingredients of Language Paperback – Feb 28 2011


See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
CDN$ 14.43
CDN$ 6.83 CDN$ 9.44

Frequently Bought Together

Words And Rules: The Ingredients of Language + The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language + The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature
Price For All Three: CDN$ 42.01

Show availability and shipping details

  • In Stock.
    Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca.
    FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ CDN$ 25. Details

  • The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language CDN$ 13.86

    In Stock.
    Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca.
    FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ CDN$ 25. Details

  • The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature CDN$ 13.72

    In Stock.
    Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca.
    FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ CDN$ 25. Details


Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (Feb. 28 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062011901
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062011909
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #129,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
First Sentence
Language comes so naturally to us that it is easy to forget what a strange and miraculous gift it is. Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most helpful customer reviews

By John M. Ford TOP 100 REVIEWER on Feb. 20 2013
Format: Paperback
Psychologist, linguist, and well-known author Steven Pinker illustrates the processes of human language through an extended discussion of regular and irregular verbs. He skillfully uses our grade-school struggles with the rules and exceptions of English vocabulary to explore the larger realm of human language competence. "Like fruit flies, regular and irregular verbs are small and easy to breed, and they contain, in easily visible form, the machinery that powers larger phenomena in all their glorious complexity."

Pinker's book explores in great detail the two different systems of the brain that produce language. One is regular and rule-like and produces patterns that range from the regular forms of some verbs to the grammatical and organizational regularities of larger chunks of language. The other is idiosyncratic and irregular and stores pieces of our linguistic competence that frustrate linguists and second-graders alike. Our working language is shaped by the interplay between these systems. They both leave their traces in the historical changes in language, similarities between different languages, the creative mistakes children and adults make while learning language, and in the way we invent and reinvent new words.

This book is recommended to anyone who wants to understand how our mind enables us to use language. Don't worry about being trapped into a narrow dissection of verbs--the book simply uses them as an increasingly-familiar theme to explore larger language issues. And don't shrink from an imagined tangle of technical terminology. Pinker's use of language is as deft as his grasp of it. His book is an enjoyable, as well as an informative read.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "subornator" on Oct. 10 2002
Format: Paperback
This is the first Pinker's book I've read; this may or may not be the best choice. In a flush of serendipity, I started finding references to Dr. Pinker and his works elsewhere; turns out he is considered one of the pivotal figures of modern evolutionary psychology and an archenemy of New Age, feminist and other postmodern, erm, thinkers. That alone could have driven me to his works; but I stumbled upon this book by pure chance, and I am very glad I did.
"Words and rules", as its title suggests, is a less ambitious and more technical book than "The Language Instinct" or "How the Mind Works". It is likely to produce less controversy. It is less than friendly for readers without background in linguistics. There are very few far-reaching conjectures - most of the stories Pinker recounts are solid, scientifically verified data.
However, the consequences which follow are disturbing and unusual. The seemingly trivial question of regular and irregular words in languages, and English irregular verbs in particular, has major repercussions for this other question Dr. Pinker had tackled earlier - how the mind works.
To try to sum it up: in language acquisition and language use, humans employ two systems: memory and structure, lexicon and grammar, words and rules. They are interdependent, but distinctly separate. Their separation in human minds is illustrated by numerous examples from children's speech mistakes, speech impediments in people with various brain injuries, and neurological data, obtained by more or less direct observation of brain activity. All languages depend heavily on words; you cannot use even Esperanto unless you have mastered its basic vocabulary.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Ott on Dec 23 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book may strike some as mind-blowing and some as dull, depending upon your familiarity and interest in the subject. I, for one, found it perfectly suited to my high interest in language and how the mind works. I recommend browsing the book at a local store to get a feel for it. As academic writing goes, this is hardly dry. Pinker writes lucidly and with great humor, using the idea of regular and irregular verbs (!) to explore diverse topics in modern science. I read it with hunger. A great soft introduction to linguistics, and to the nature of the human brain.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Daniel L Pratt on Jan. 30 2002
Format: Paperback
Having a 25-year-old degree in linguistics, I was pleased to read this book, refreshing my memory on some matters but for the most part showing that the field continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Focusing on a fairly narrow area ("irregular" verbs and also nouns in English and also other languages), the author presents theories to account for this aspect of language, and the experiments which tend to support or refute those theories. Not surprisingly perhaps, his own theories fare pretty well. Since the focus is somewhat narrow, I would recommend that you first read another of Pinker's language books. (The author would probably enjoy MacDonald's "Lilith" if only to add examples of glide/glode crow/crown to his collection of English irregular verbs!)
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.

Product Images from Customers

Search


Feedback